This week is Jessie May week. It’s a chance to remember Jessica herself, on her birthday, and also to acknowledge International Nurses Day on 12th May, and International Families Day on 15th May. To celebrate, the charity has organised a week of special activities including the launch of their new fundraising initiative “Time for Tea”.
So, while the water boils, please have a read about why we support this fantastic charity, and perhaps think if there’s anything you could do to help them too.
When my son was born, he didn’t enjoy quite the straight-forward arrival that Rachel and I had both hoped or imagined, and his first few days were spent in NICU at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. We consider ourselves very fortunate that he recovered quickly, and all is well, but what I subsequently realised is that not every family has the same experience, and that lives are significantly impacted on a daily basis due to illnesses, and the fragility of children.
Preparing for the unexpected is something I talk about with my clients regularly, and what we aim to do is to mitigate some of the financial risks that people are subjected to in the event of death, serious illness, or long term illness. Whilst I believe strongly that in offering a ‘financial security blanket’ our work is really worthwhile, I’m acutely aware that what we are not able to do is to offer the practical, hands-on, care and support that some require, and that organisations like Jessie May can provide.
Jessica May died at home in High Wycombe in 1994, aged just 4 1/2 months, surrounded by her family and supported by a team of nurses. She died from a genetic condition known as severe Spinal Muscular Atrophy. After Jessie was admitted to hospital when the family were visiting friends in Bristol, her parents realised that Bristol families didn’t have the same access to medical support and care at home, rather than hospital, which they benefited from in High Wycombe. As a result, The Jessie May Trust was founded in 1996 to help fund nurses for home visits.
Jessie May continues to provide nursing care at home as its core focus, but now also helps to run activity days for the children, and also respite care to support their families and carers.
In many respects the charity has similar values to our own. They believe in the positive effect of collaboration, working together to achieve the same goal. Taking a holistic approach will often provide the most benefit, and ensuring that families are well informed, and in control of decisions, to enable them to do the right thing. When things get challenging, a creative approach will often find the right solution.
Whilst the charity is now almost 20 years old, we’re aware that it is still relatively small and unknown, with 25 nurses currently supporting 89 families across Bristol and Bath. Considering the impact that a home visit from a nurse can have, and the number of families who need the help, we want to contribute to Jessie May not only financially, but also by engaging and increasing support from other businesses and the local community.
We hope that our support will contribute towards the charity being able to increase the number of nurses, and therefore make a real difference in improving the quality of life for more and more families in and around Bristol, Bath, and South Gloucestershire – even if it’s just by giving them time out for a cuppa and a chat with friends.
So, fancy a tea party…? Get your invites here…